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Domestic abuse and the impact on children

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In this climate of sweeping changes to the landscape in which we are working one thing that sadly is as prevalent as ever is the issue of domestic abuse. A timely reminder of the effects on children as a result of them being exposed to domestic abuse can be found in the research undertaken by Megan Holmes in America.

Whilst this has re-emphasised a lot of what the research to date has shown us about the personal, social and behavioural impacts that exposure to domestic abuse has on children, it has also found that children can experience delayed impact from such incidents which potentially is highly relevant to the way in which we deal with those cases. For example when a child is displaying problematic behaviour it will be important not only to enquire as to whether there has been recent exposure to domestic abuse but also to look back over the proceeding years to see if this behaviour could be a delayed product of earlier experiences of domestic abuse.

Moving forward it will be vital, especially given the timescales that we are being asked to operate within, that we are all alive to the possible issues for children which may manifest in the months and years ahead if they have been exposed domestic abuse. In particular in terms of their placement and contact needs as well as support services that the children and or their carers may require.